By KRIS BHROMSUTHI
CONSTITUTION Drafting Committee (CDC) spokesman General Lertrat Ratanavanich yesterday came out in support of the Cabinet proposal to extend the drafters' working time-frame.
They were offered another 30 days to submit the completed draft to the National Reform CouncIl (NRC), giving them more time to deliberate and reflect on several issues. The NRC will then vote on whether to approve or reject the charter draft.
According to the interim constitution, if the NRC rejects the draft charter, then the drafting process will return to square one and the current CDC will be dissolved and replaced by a new set of charter drafters. Rejection of the charter by the NRC would also mean a significant delay in the general election.
The CDC spokesman said the drafters were now studying all proposals for amendments put forward by the Cabinet, the NRC and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). Once that is completed, the CDC will deliberate the amendments article-by-article.
The 30-day extension would mean the CDC must have the charter ready by August 21 and the NRC will have to vote on it by September 4.
If the draft charter is approved by the NRC, then the junta and the Election Commission are expected to set the date for a referendum which, according to the interim charter, must be within 90 days after the NRC vote.
There has been debate recently about the campaign for “reform before election”, which would mean the junta-appointed institutions or “the Five Rivers” would stay on for another two years to set off NRC’s reform plan.
CDC member Paiboon Nititawan yesterday voiced support for the idea and said people should vote to approve or reject the draft charter. They should also make a choice between “reform before election” or if the country should move towards a general election as soon as possible.
CDC yesterday held a meeting to set out a plan on deliberating and amending the draft charter as proposed by the Cabinet and NRC.
Charter drafters are set to prioritise which provisions have drawn much criticism and require immediate attention, while less controversial ones can be considered later.
The provisions that drew the most criticism were: allowing an “outsider PM”; acquisition of senators and the scope of their power; articles 181 and 182 that give “super power” to the PM; and the introduction of a mixed-member proportional electoral system, a “political group” in the electoral race and the open-list system.